I always love how the Universe gives us opportunities to practice what we are learning.
I’ve been working on reclaiming, healing and integrating a more assertive and fierce part of myself that I long buried because I wanted to be “nice” and didn’t want to be “too much.”
I have been calling this part of myself the “spicy part,” and she’s been helping me to learn how to speak up more when things bother me.
What’s Your Relationship With Using Your Voice?
I think a lot of us have a complicated relationship with using our voice. Maybe you can relate to being able to speak up in certain areas of your life – like let’s say in your job – but not in others – like your friendships.
For me, I’ve always been really direct when it comes to work and my business, mainly thanks to years in law, and also having grown up with a parent I needed to be super direct and clear in my communication with in order to avoid conflict.
However, I’ve been really bad at being direct and speaking up when it comes to other areas of my life. For example, in the past, if I ordered a product and it comes back nothing like what I ordered, I would just keep the product and not say anything to the business.
If I ordered something at a restaurant and it came out inedible or not as I ordered, or even what I ordered, I would just eat it.
I didn’t realize that instances like this were weird until Chris would be around me when they happened and started to mirror for me that they were, and would have to, on my behalf, remedy the situation.
This then would make me feel like some weird damsel in distress that needed her partner to speak on her behalf, and so I resolved that I needed to get to the root of why I suddenly would get so shy in situations like this.
The Root of Not Speaking Up?
When I went to dive into the deeper healing of why I felt weird speaking up for myself, what I uncovered was really interesting!
This is why I love healing from the root, because often what’s at the root might be something we don’t expect.
For me, the root turned out to be when I was really young and my Dad was working really long hours. His absence in the house was really difficult for me, and I was angry and sad about it. However, instead of articulating this, one day I decided I would take cues from a TV show scene I had seen, and would stop calling him Dad because “Dad is something you earn.”
One night, I started calling him John. He is, of course, really confused by this and asks why I keep calling him John.
That’s when, 12 year old me, comes in with a Scorpio stinger of “Dad is something you earn. Since you’re never here, you no longer deserve to be called Dad.”
Can you believe it?! So spicy.
The context of all of this is that my Dad has always been such a safe, stable, supportive presence in my life and I have literally never fought with him in my life, except for this one time.
Anyway, it was so spicy that I immediately regretted it, ran upstairs and bawled my eyes out.
This led to my Dad and I actually having an open and healing conversation about how I was sad about how much he was working and how much it was affecting me.
But you know what happened in that moment? I decided that when I used my voice about things that I was angry or upset about, it wasn’t safe.
That belief and that programming then lasted until…now.
How to Rewire and Reprogram
After we get to the root of the block, the next thing to do is to rewire it. I like using possibility statements like: “The possibility I’m creating for myself is that I can be assertive and speak my needs in a direct way.”
Specifically for using your voice, you can try things like sound healing, singing breathwork, neck rolls, and putting crystals on your neck to clear the energy.
In addition, the Universe will normally co-create with us and give us experiences designed to help us embody what we are trying to re-wire and re-program. Since I uncovered this block and the root, I’ve had number of instances over the last 6 months to be really direct and speak up when things have felt off, been wrong, or need to be remedied.
No better example of this is the wedding industry because I feel like so much of it is designed to make people second-guess themselves, get over-charged, or buy into a vision that isn’t theirs.
My Bridezilla Moment
Okay, so maybe I wasn’t actually a bridezilla – but I was referred to by the VP of Kleinfelds as being a “problem.”
Let me explain.
When I bought my dress, it fit great but was a little snug, so I was told they would order the next size up.
When the dress arrived, it was two sizes bigger, so it was…big.
The dress was part of a trunk show, which means that sizes are different than what the store usually has, and so it’s my opinion that the dress was in the wrong size because the person wasn’t familiar with the sizing from the trunk show and made a mistake.
While I deduced was that they ordered the dress too big, I didn’t really care because I knew it could be altered.
But then the issue got complicated when I went to an alterations place that only does bridal dresses and she candidly told me she was nervous to do my alterations.
The issue then became a principle issue – if they had just ordered me the dress the size I thought they were, I wouldn’t find myself in a situation to have to get such intense alterations, and they should acknowledge they made a mistake.
I stewed on it for a while, but decided I should bring it to Kleinfeld’s attention. I’m practicing speaking up, after all!
You know what my biggest resistance was? I didn’t want to be seen as a “bridezilla.” However,I wanted them to know that there had been an error for their own processes, and I wanted the validation for them to admit that they had messed up. At first that was all I wanted to do – just speak up.
But then no one from customer service got back to me within 10 days, and that then frustrated me, so I decided to speak up more, at least to get a response.
On their website, they list the President’s contact information to connect with in the even that you have an issue at the store. I e-mailed him.
By doing that, his most fabulous assistant got back to me and apologized and said that they were on it and were figuring out a solution.
But then again, no response and…no response.
I eventually wrote back and let her know that I wanted them to compensate for the alterations, since they had ordered the size too big and now I was left with complicated alterations, and that’s when the VP finally got back to me. She invited me to come back into the store where we could look at the dress together.
She at least took the time to meet with me, but wasn’t happy about it. Someone asked: “is there a bride in that fitting room?” and she responded “No – I have a problem in there.”
Nothing like speaking up and then having yourself called a problem, right?
We didn’t end up agreeing, as she tried to convince me that the dress was absolutely not too big, while also assuring me that they could do alterations there, at my expense.
At that point, I didn’t want to get into it further so coalesced.
The whole point of speaking up is that sometimes we also have to learn to pick our battles, and whether to choose to be right or to be happy. By the time I got there and had her call me a problem and not budge on the dress being the wrong size, I was over it and just wanted it done with.
Because of speaking up, they did end up pairing me with an alterations master, but the whole thing made me feel like I had been in the wrong and second guessing myself.
I later wondered whether this is just a more universal thing. The world isn’t used to women speaking up and advocating for themselves, so when we do, we’re either called too much, aggressive, bridezilla, or made to feel like we’re wrong.
I’m still happy I spoke up as an ongoing exercise in learning to use my voice, but in the future, would definitely recommend that you triple check your measurements with your bridal consultant against the sizing chart for your designer if you are getting married.
Lastly, remember that using your voice in a world that wants us to stay small, stay quiet, and “be nice” is an ongoing journey.
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